Hidden treasures

The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Film Locations

The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Since the beginning of the seventh art, Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some have even made the history of cinema.

In 1949 the great English director Orson Welles began filming a famous literary classic: Othello by William Shakespeare, whose first act was set in Venice.

The film had many production problems: a chronic lack of funds and, above all, the bad character of the director who even went as far as forcing five lead actresses in the role of Desdemona (the unhappy wife killed by Otello's, who was mad with jealousy) to abandon the set.

Because of the continuing delays, many scenes, which were supposed to be shot in Morocco, had to be shot in Venice and therefore only saw the light in 1952.

Shakespeare set the final act of the tragedy in Cyprus (a Venetian colony at the time) and yet in the film we can see the Doge's Palace Gate, but especially the famous Contarini spiral staircase of the Palazzo in San Luca, called Contarini del Bovolo ( Venetian 'spiral').

This incredible structure, dated 1499, was recently reopened to the public and you can go up and climb the stairs; the view is absolutely worth the cost of the ticket, maybe if you close your eyes, you can imagine the smell of Cyprus cedars while the tragedy of Othello's jealousy unfolds, which Shakespeare rightly called in the drama the 'green eyed monster'.

Venice is a real film location in the open air. In addition to Orson Wells'  Othello many films or scenes that remain immortal in the history of cinema were shot. Thanks to our Cinetour in Venice you can learn about and admire some of these famous locations during a fascinating walk with our local expert guide.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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